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El antropólogo inocente (The Innocent Anthropologist #1)

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  1,304 Ratings  ·  118 Reviews
El antropólogo inocente es un texto ciertamente insólito del que se dijo: «Probablemente el libro más divertido que se ha publicado este año. Nigel Barley hace con la antropología lo que Gerald Durrell hizo con la zoología» (David Halloway). El autor, doctorado en antropología por Oxford, se dedicó durante un par de años al estudio de una tribu poco conocida del Camerún, l ...more
Paperback, Crónicas Anagrama , 240 pages
Published February 28th 1994 by Anagrama (first published 1983)
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A bizarrely and unexpectedly funny account of anthropological fieldwork in Cameroon. Not that we get to laugh at the ceramics of another culture but rather the misadventures of Europeans in west Africa.

The author visits a pagan tribe in the back-lands - the Dowayo. He finds a French speaking Christian who works as his translator (disapproving naturally of the pagan ways of his fellow tribesmen) but Nigel Barley's first problem is getting hold of a beer bottle - at the time in Cameroon you could
Jan 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 09_antropologia
Un antropologo che guarda con occhio ironico (e a volte decisamente comico) e critico il proprio "lavoro sul campo".
Con pieno rispetto (e un pizzico di tenerezza) del popolo che è andato a studiare , scoprendo disagi e pregiudizi e – senza negarli ipocritamente – imparando a conviverci.
Decisamente esilaranti tutte le descrizioni delle peripezie burocratiche, mentre l'occhio dello studioso fa capolino qua e là, discretamente, dimessamente.
Dec 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir
Nigel Barley se fue a Camerún y en un año tuvo hepatitis, malaria y unos parásitos que ponen huevos bajo las uñas, se tratan rebanando trozos de carne con una navaja y parecen bastante asquerosetes. Perdió 18 kg y los dos dientes de delante. También pasó meses sin hablar con nadie en frases completas y se aburrió (normal). Su vida sexual fue inexistente, por suerte porque sino seguramente habría vuelto con gonorrea, clamidia y sífilis. No creo que hubiese sido capaz de resistirlo. Resistirlo yo, ...more
If you enjoy this type of humour (which I do, obviously), which I guess is a self deprecating British humour.

Barley starts his book by ridiculing fieldwork, and academic life in general, while explaining that fieldwork is the natural progression from doctorates based on 'library research'. This, along with selecting a location, takes a chapter, and forms the basis for the full extent of the book.

In selecting a location, Barley had narrowed it down to Portuguese Timor, until just as the academic
Paul Bryant
" Much has been written on the excellence of bats' navigation equipment. It is all false. Tropical bats spend their entire time flying into obstacles with a horrible thudding noise. They specialize in slamming into walls and falling, fluttering onto your face. As my own 'piece of equipment essential for the field' I would strongly recommend a tennis racket: it is devastatingly effective in clearing a room of bats."
Mar 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an utterly hilarious account of an anthropologist going off into his first field assignment in Cameroon. He has a wittiness that reminds me, oddly enough, of the way that Hugh Grant's characters often poke fun at themselves in movies. It's totally British, totally honest, and utterly candid.

I kept wanting to underline entire paragraphs, for going back and laughing at them again later. Here are a few of my favorites:

"Young anthropologists know all about missionaries before they've met any
Dec 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Este es un libro que me sorprendió bastante. Cuando mi profesor de Métodos de etnografía y diseño nos dijo que íbamos a leer un libro de antropología yo me esperaba una lectura pesada, llena de datos y bastante tediosa. Sin embargo, me encontré con una joya.
Nigel Barley, el autor de este libro, es un antropólogo inglés que, cansado de su vida como maestro, decide pasar al trabajo de campo de la antropología y viajar a África para estudiar por un año a una pequeña población indígena que nadie co
Als junger Ethnologe unterrichtet Nigel Barley an einer britischen Universität, bis ihm ein Kollege die entscheidende Frage stellt: “Warum machst Du dann nicht Feldforschung”? Schließlich sind die Feldforscher doch die Obergurus der Ethnologie! Kaum ist die Entscheidung gefällt und das zu untersuchende Volk, die Dowayo im nördlichen Kamerun, ausgewählt, holt die Bürokratie Barley wieder auf den Boden der Tatsachen und jegliche Ethnologenromantik ist schnell dahin. Wie wird es ihm in Afrika ergeh ...more
In the early 80s, a British anthropologists finds himself in the middle of nowhere Africa, in the small town of Poli, Cameroon in order to study the Dowayo tribe. Twenty-four years later, a California Peace Corps volunteer (yours truly) finds herself in the same town. What has changed? Not much. Still one dirt road. Still pervasive corruption. Still intense frustration. Still intense happiness and belonging.

This book and its companion ("Ceremony") were left in my mud hut (but I had luckily had s
This is the most entertaining book I've read all year. And I spent my vacation reading P.G. Wodehouse.

This book is an anthropological monograph. This is apparently an entire genre of literature, and this is the first one of them that I've ever read. The idea is that you go out to some third world village that nobody knows anything about, you live among the people, and then you come back and write about it.

Barley comes at this from a bit of an angle. First, he apparently was a theoretical anthrop
César Lasso
Apr 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
If you thought "anthopology" sounds like a boring subject, read this one and laugh out loud.

Me pareció un fascinante y divertidísimo estudio sobre el choque de culturas (en este caso, la occidental y la de una primitiva tribu del Camerún) sin prejuicios o la superioridad que cabe esperarse cuando escribe un occidental.
Jose Carlos
Jan 09, 2018 rated it did not like it

Mal libro este para aproximarse por vez primera a la antropología. Y un flaco favor que le hace el prólogo de Alberto Cardín, del cual podemos inferir que nos encontramos ante una obra magna que aúna investigación y diversión, ciencia y sentido del humor puesto que, nos dice, “pocas veces se habrán visto reunidos, en un libro de antropología, un cúmulo tal de situaciones divertidas, referidas con inimitable humor y gracia, y una competencia etnográfica tan afina
Alex Sarll
The sort of exposé which either makes or breaks your career, and fortunately made Barley’s. He set out to write a book containing all the stuff other anthropologists left out, and which he wished he’d known ahead of his first fairly disastrous attempt at fieldwork among the Dowayo of Cameroon. He ended up with something that’s full of laughs for the general reader – a sort of non-fiction Evelyn Waugh, minus the spite. And indeed, it’s hard at times to remember this was written in the eighties ra ...more
Mar 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Las aventuras y desventuras de Nigel Barley han sido un maravilloso descubrimiento. Quizás no tan divertidas como las imaginaba por la sinopsis, pero sin duda informativas, entretenidas y muy recomendables.

Supongo que ahora pasaré horas y horas googleando a los dowayos y a los fulani. Por saber, que no quede.
Nov 13, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anthropologists
Shelves: athropology
Read this one as a course textbook for my athropology class. And though it was good, I can't say it's for everyone. It was funny and quick paced and you can get a good insight of an anthropological research.
Sep 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Cuenta las peripecias del autor durante su primer trabajo de campo entre los dowayo de Camerún. Similar al estilo de Gerald Durrell pero en Antropología.
Jun 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: class, stand-alone
Miren no han acabado los exámenes pero como no tenía nada mejor que hacer (mentira) me lo he acabado y me ha gustado mucho, me he reído bastante y la verdad es que se me ha hecho una lectura amena, que no suele ocurrir con las lecturas obligatorias.
Mar 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: anthropology, africa
Nigel Barley isn't sure he wants to do actual fieldwork as an anthropologist, but since it seems to be expected, and he's got nothing else particularly interesting to do, he goes to Africa to study the culture of the Dawayo people. The book is a mixture of memoir, cultural observation and self-deprecating humor. Barley lays bare the fairly selfish and sometimes wrong-headed motivations of anthropologists from the beginning of the book, but his fieldwork is clearly thorough and complete. The book ...more
Simon Hollway
Oct 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014, 2014-top-ten
The Noel Coward of anthropology produces a Whitehall farce that should be packaged as an obligatory companion piece to anything and everything by Claude Levi-Strauss.
Samue l
Mar 13, 2017 rated it it was ok
"Salí del despacho dando trapiés, mareado de incredulidad. Así debió de sentirse Moisés cuando Dios le entregó las tablas".
Bob Newman
Nov 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Barley avoids sowing any oats

Doing field work is, as the author suggests early on, a kind of rite of passage for would-be anthropologists. Not only is it the way to know a particular place and culture in depth, but it helps you to understand how all those other works lining the shelves of college libraries were brought to fruition. But, let's face it, by 1978, when Nigel Barley set off for field work in Cameroon, the pattern of going off to some remote tribe or isolated people and trying to "re-
Ignacio Izquierdo
Oct 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Nigel Barley se marchó a Africa a trabajar en su primera experiencia de campo como antropólogo conviviendo con una tribu en Camerún. Entre los dowayos se suceden venturas, desventuras, situaciones hilarantes y absurdas que van creando un retrato no solo de la tribu sino también de Camerún y más delgadamente de África. Hay humor, frustración, incomprensión pero nunca desde una mirada condescendiente, si no siempre desde el intento de entender ese mundo tan alejando del nuestro. Es simplemente del ...more
Joaquín Borrell
Jun 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recoge los apuntes sobre un trabajo de campo en la tierra de los dagoyo, una tribu montañesa del Camerún capaz de destruir todos los mitos sobre el buen salvaje –según observa el autor, en cuestión de huellas son capaces de distinguir las de un humano de una motocicleta-. El objetivo inicial era la Guinea que fue española, pero fue variado al saber que el dictador local iba a iniciar “una campaña contra la oposición, entendida en sentido amplio”. No sé si estimulará el turismo hacia Camerún –al ...more
Marika Cowley
Hands down one of the best books I've ever read. Although Cameroon is far from where I grew up in Southern Africa, many of the truths hold and I found myself laughing aloud on multiple occasions. His descriptions of Africa and the Duwayo culture are superb, the writing flawless. I absolutely adored this book and recommend it to anyone who has spent time in Africa.
Nora Cayetano
En un inicio había abandonado este libro porque no soy fan del humor basado en atormentar a un solo personaje. Pero me forcé a volver a retomar la lectura... y no está mal :)
Comencé a disfrutarlo más por allá del quinto o sexto capítulo en que, ya instalado en África, el antropólogo comienza a narrar los usos y costumbres de su nuevo entorno. En ese punto, me descubrí riendo y sonriendo de verdad.
No considero que sea el libro más gracioso de todos los tiempos, pero tampoco es una pérdida comple
Laura Melguizo
Apr 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Hilarante... pero sólo para los propios antropólogos, sociólogos y quienes entienden el sentido del humor británico comparado con el de los pueblos nativos que visita para investigar y documentar su cultura.
May 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Awesome book!! Everyone should read this before immersing oneself into a foreign culture.
Ignacio Luis
May 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Después mis varios años en África las vivencias de Nigel Barley se ven muy reales y cercanas a pesar de lo irreal que parezcan. Muy acertado el tono coloquial y humorístico que empapa toda la obra.
Jessica Cornett Allen
Awesome. Hilarious. Great, realistic and self-aware perspective about academic anthropology and field work in Cameroon, and so recognizably Cameroon!
Laura Baiges
Jun 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very amusing piece of work. As a physical anthropologist myself going to Eastern Africa this summer I found it particularly special.
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“Much has been written on the excellence of bats' navigation equipment. It is all false. Tropical bats spend their entire time flying into obstacles with a horrible thudding noise. They specialize in slamming into walls and falling, fluttering onto your face. As my own 'piece of equipment essential for the field' I would strongly recommend a tennis racket; it is devastatingly effective in clearing a room of bats.” 2 likes
“I had made an early policy decision to drink the native beer despite the undoubted horrors of the process of fabrication. On my very first visit to a Dowayo beer party, this was put severely to the test. "Will you have beer?" I was asked. "Beer is furrowed," I replied, having got the tones wrong. "He said 'yes' ", my assistant replied in a tired voice. They were amazed. No white man, at this time, had ever been known to touch beer. Seizing a calabash, they proceeded to wash it out in deference to my exotic sensibilities. They did this by offering it to a dog to lick out. Dowayo dogs are not beautiful at the best of times; this one was particularly loathsome, emaciated, open wounds on its ears where flies feasted, huge distended ticks hanging from its belly. It licked the calabash with relish. It was refilled and passed to me. Everyone regarded me, beaming expectantly. There was nothing to be done; I drained it and gasped out my enjoyment. Several more calabashes followed.” 1 likes
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